End-Time Events and the Last Generation: An Interview with Dr. George Knight

(Kevin H) #264

Frank Peacham and Frankmer7,

I did come a bit hard but I finally caught your attentions. I’ve been trying to “clear my throat” a few times but continued to see trends that have worried me; both in posts here which reflect what worries me about the church in general. I apologize if I came on too strong.

On the one hand we see members who contrast popular interpretation of Paul against popular interpretation of Mrs. White, and on the other hand we find that there is a trend in Biblical Scholarship that is only about 30 years old which is, as I mentioned, saying that we are mis-reading Paul, and reading into his words ideas that did not come from Paul himself but as interpreted by the events of the church-synagogue split of 135 AD, St. Augustine, and the events of the 1500s. Scholars are now trying to strip off these other ideas and are trying to get back to Paul’s original ideas. Jewish Rabbis are now becoming scholars in the writings of Paul and there has been a reclaiming of Paul by Judaism which is getting away from the traditional “the man Jesus and the demon Paul” that has been popular for centuries.

On the other hand we find Mrs. White being quoted but with the ideas of the scholars who are the ones highly regarded by the so-called “Historic Adventists” and “Last Generation.”

I went to college during the Desmond Ford issue. In college we were taught how both the Ford issue and the “Historic Adventists” have both divided the truth approximately half way between them, using part of the truth against the rest of the truth. How the church is not happy with the truth because it steps on the toes of both groups. Besides learning this at AUC, at Campmeeting a couple from Union College, Ralph and Beatrice Neal (spelling) I believe there names are, gave the same message. Also, the writings of A. Leroy Moore were also coming out with the same message.

When I was at Andrews, I did a lot of reading in the White estate, and came across a number of letters (and sadly did not realize the importance of those letters then) between Mrs. White and Willie to the pastors who you find quoted over and over again by the historic Adventist and Last Generation people. The basis of these letters were the same. Mrs. White or Willie would complain that while these pastors were using massive quotes of hers, that they did not understand her message. Instead of spreading the truth in their massive quotings, they were using them to try to add divine approval to their ideas and thus force their ideas on to the church, and that she was not in agreement with their views.

They would write back to her that if people like Willie or others were not polluting her mind against them that she would not be writing them these letters but instead be fully supporting what they were teaching.

I also came across writings that accused Mrs. White of aposticy, of no longer believing that she is a prophet and that she now opposes what used to be her message. Some suggested that a Jesuit priest must have come into her inner circle and is controlling her mind. Some suggested that the Jesuit may have been Willie or others, or that Mrs. White herself may have converted over to the Jesuits. Anyway, if you wanted to know what message she had that came from God and to keep them separate from the heresy that she was currently teaching to read her as quoted by these ministers.

After I left Andrews, I was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Lewis Washington. Many church members there subscribed to a journal called “Our Firm Foundation.” The ideas I was reading in many copies of that journal sounded very familiar, and sure enough, looking at the footnotes they kept referencing the pastors who Mrs. White wrote those letters to, and who the writings accusing Mrs. White of heresy were telling us who to turn to for the truth.

We are still finding a lot of fighting in the church between the popular interpretations of Paul (Yes, Frank, he did say new things, but was not as extreme as we tend to think. One archaeologist has said “Paul died to prove that what we are now saying he taught was a lie.” ) and Frank, Frank, and KevinP, Mrs. White was also not as extreme as you would like her to be.

I wish that I had written a paper at Andrews on those letters. But for more study may I recommend the recent biography of A. G. Daniels, the works by A. Leroy Moore, the Neals, and the faculty of AUC in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. such as the 3 chapters in the original Sanctuary and the Atonement titled “The Mighty Opposites: The Atonement in the Writings of Ellen G. White” parts 1 and 2, and “We Must All Appear: The Investigative Judgment in the Writings of Ellen G. White” For some more on the new views of Paul, there is a book “A new Understanding of Paul” or something like that, but also Jim Flemings: Acts: New Discoveries from the Early Church. "http://www.biblicalresources.net/product.cfm?product=37 and Dr. Fleming also deals with this in his lecture “Lest we forget: a history of anti-Judaism and the church.”

If we keep referring to Paul in the popular but probably out of date interpretations, which he died to prove to be a lie, and interpreting Mrs. White via these pastors who she wrote that they were misrepresenting her and that they do not understand her message and use these misinterpretations against each other, we are just going to dig ourselves deeper and deeper into a rut.

And no matter how you feel about Dr. Knight, at least he is making an attempt to dig us out of our rut.

(Frankmer7) #265

Interesting to hear your story and experience. As far as modern Pauline scholarship goes, a revolution began with E.P. Sanders’ book, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, from the late 70’s. That opened the floodgates to what came to be called the New Perspectives On Paul. These ideas have been furthered by scholars and writers such as J.D.G.Dunn, N.T. Wright, Philip Carey, Luke Timothy Johnson, Scot McKnight, etc. They have broken the traditional boundaries set by Reformational and Augustinian ideas, in the effort to get us back to what Paul was really saying in his own context.

If you haven’t read them, I think you would enjoy.



(Kevin Paulson) #266

Interesting insights. But even without what you’ve shared here, Paul’s own writings make it clear that when he speaks of the “works of the law” not justifying or saving anyone (Rom. 3:20,28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9), he is speaking of self-generated, hypocritical piety, not the Spirit-empowered obedience of regeneration and sanctification, which Paul plainly says are in fact part of the saving process (II Thess. 2:13; Titus 3:5).

The latter of the above two verses is especially instructive, as it contrasts “works of righteousness which we have done” from “the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). The former cannot save because they originate from self. The latter are in fact part of the means of our salvation, as they originate from the Holy Spirit.

(Frank Peacham) #267

Of course I hold Jesus as greater than Paul. I am sure most Christians do. Yet, it is obvious that Paul has influenced the church in profound ways. Paul separated the Gospel from Judaism, in his break with Circumcision. Jesus never spoke about this issue.

(dale) #268

I agree with what you have said and I’m going to expand a little further. Works cannot save us for the simple fact they cannot undo anything we have done. If I committed murder no amount of good works is going to undo the murder I committed or save me from the penalty for my crime. That is why we need a saviour. Now if I am pardoned from that murder it doesn’t leave me free to commit more. When Jesus pardons us his Holy Spirit works in us to no longer do the things we did formerly. When the Holy Spirit works in us to produce the fruit of the spirit 5:22,23 that is Christ’s righteousness imparted to us because those actions are a result of His divine representative doing the work in us.

We cannot save ourselves by our own self centred works but we are certainly judged by works. Our works show who our master is. Jesus says in revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

As a man Jesus did not credit himself with doing the good works. John 14:10-11 KJV
[10] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [11] Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake

When Christ lives in us he does the works like the father that dwelled in him did the works when he was on earth. When our works are originating from Christ living in us they are acceptable to God because it is he righteousness of Christ being manifested in our actions. That is his righteousness imparted. Which is the fruit of the spirit. That is why we are judged by works and Jesus continually stressed the point about bearing fruit.


Sorry for the delay @7thdayissabbath, let me restate … we bare fruit because of whom we fellowship, “Create in me a clean heart…”… behavior without motivation is sin. (without faith it is impossible to please God).

And in response to the @kevindpaulson reply… any LGT labeled “perfection” is still “hamstrung” with you stating that our struggle towards “perfection is noteworthy”… What you do in life… depends on how your tree is “planted” if you want to spin it “that way”… however… your fruit (perfection if you wish) is still a by product of the gift of grace that you RECEIVE … not ACHIEVE. In SDA parlance… perfect holiness has nothing to “Do with” perfection. It’s a very aware state in which God’s holiness (due to the fact that you are presciently aware of it in a “faith state”… your closeness to God would cause you to feel “more sinful”… check Isiah for reference… so putting your trust completely in God, means totally accepting grace in all aspects of your life… which makes your “commitment” and calling towards God sure. And just to block another one of the LGT fallacies… I counter your perfection with RECEIVE perfection, which includes actual “proving all things and holding fast”. I dont accept EGW as canonical, it is my rule of faith aka the bible. (God’s word). And since I believe in RECEIVE perfection… i am not “aiming towards perfection” but rather trying to recognize God’s holiness in my life (all aspects) as I continue to study.

Put another way, accepting God’s grace in your life requires total commitment… not just mental ascension or belief.

It’s sad that you accept the tree reference but then you gotta throw some works in there to make sure you bear fruit. Priceless… nice try. (certain aspect of the gospel message)?

Ponder this… God writes His laws in our hearts… does He write them there or do you? and how does he write them? To me, when I am open to His spirit in my life and vulnerable…

with kind regards,

(dale) #270

The thing that I see as the issue between the “LGTers” (which I think the term is a complete misnomer) and those who don’t subscribe to that is what can God do in us. It really boils down to does God have the power to keep us from sinning in or fallen nature or not.

(Cfowler) #271

Are you still sinning? Pretty sure I know the answer. :slightly_smiling_face:

(dale) #272

That’s not the issue of whether or not I’m still sinning. It’s a question of does God have the power to stop me from sinning in a fallen nature if I allow him to work in me. That isn’t the same idea. One is what I choose to do the other is what is possible for God to do in me. Sinning is natural for people to do we are predisposed to doing it. I think that I can safely say that most christians have given up things that they used to do. Addictions, adultery, lying and the list goes on. The reasoning is this, if God can help you overcome one sin or two or 5 or ten, why does it have to stop there?

When we sin we cause God pain that we can’t even imagine. They say one’s capacity for pain is related to the capacity to love. So if someone is pleading with God to overcome a sin, does God just say “sorry Johnny I can’t help you with that sin because you have over come enough as it is.”

Then the question gets brought up if God leaves us to commit sin when he has the power to stop it, that’s not good.because sin causes suffering. Or God can’t do it because he doesn’t have the power to. If he doesn’t have the power to then that means he isn’t omnipotent and throws everything into question. But it is impossible for God to lie. Being omnipotent means he has the power to keep a person from sinning he has to. Whether I sin or not doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not something is possible for God to do.

(Tim Teichman) #273

Haven’t we ejected all of the sinners from the church by now, leaving only the unblemished saints behind?

(Tim Teichman) #274

It is a basic Christian teaching that He does not, that the only person to ever live, and who will ever live without sin was Jesus. I was paying attention in Sabbath School. That’s how I know.

(Cfowler) #275

I hope so! :rofl:

(Cfowler) #276

Assuming you are still sinning, why haven’t you allowed him to work in you (in your fallen nature)? Bottom line…do you think that a believer can/or will become totally sinless while in the flesh, here on earth?

(Kim Green) #277

It is such a worthless theological stance (LGT) because it is completely hypothetical and absolutely non-essential to anyone’s salvation. We have yet to see any of them produce a “Perfected” individual and we never will.

(Cfowler) #278

You are so right, Kim.

It’s such a red herring, really.

(Tim Teichman) #279

I find it interesting that is the question some of us here have been asking others who seem to support this.

You could rephrase the question in a stronger way:

Do you believe we can attain sinless perfection, a heretical teaching that dismisses Jesus sacrifice?

(dale) #280

1 Corinthians 10:13 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it .

Consider this text. Is God telling the truth when he says that with every temptation there is a way of escape to avoid committing that sin one is being tempted on. Or this text? Romans 8:3-4 KJV
[3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. …

Is God able to let the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us?

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Is God able to give us the mind of Christ? Or is that not true?

Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Can God work in us to will and and do his pleasure? And if this is true is there limits to an omnipotent God in what he can accomplish in us?
Revelation 22:11-15 KJV
[11] He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [13] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. [14] Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. [15] For without g are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, h and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh i a lie. …

When Jesus makes that declaration about being unjust be unjust still, righteous be righteous stil, what happens if someone sins after that?
And what does he mean by those who do his commandments has a right to the tree of life?

(Cfowler) #281

You still didn’t answer this question.


And, you are taking a bunch of texts (out of context) and cobbling together a false theology of being perfect while still in the flesh.

(Kim Green) #282

It is just like the Jesus question you were commenting on…even according to EGW, he was half human-half Divine. Now, I would say that He had to go through the usual growth and learning cycles- but just the fact alone that he was Divine and never sinned had to have some bearing that He was different than us!

(Kim Green) #283

"Do you believe we can attain sinless perfection, a heretical teaching that dismisses Jesus sacrifice?"

ROFL…there’s a second or third career waiting for you! You can go the legal route…or the copywriter route. Either one- you would excel at, Tim. :wink: